While the Pentagon did not immediately confirm the report; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated the American pull-out was underway, and Kurdish media outlets published footage purporting to show a long convoy of U.S. armored vehicles heading northwest in the direction of the Turkish border.
The apparent American re-deployment away from the area has infuriated the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The predominantly-Kurdish alliance is now accusing Washington of failing to abide by its previous commitments, which effectively leaving them to the mercy of the Turkish military and Ankara-backed Syrian paramilitary units.
It is important to mention that the concerns voiced by the SDF are legitimate, in light of repeated declarations by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – in which he has pledged to exterminate militias belonging to the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Union party (PYD), which he believes are linked to the internationally recognized Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terror group. Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) party on Saturday that “We finished our preparations, completed our operation plans and gave the necessary orders. It is time to clear the way for the peace springs that have been decided and already put in progress.” Saying the invasion would come “as soon as today or tomorrow,” the Turkish leader proclaimed “We will proceed this operation both with our ground and air forces,” adding, “And we have no doubt that our brothers in the Syrian side will be on our side with all their power.”
Ankara’s Syrian Paramilitary allies were quick to announce their intention to support the invasion. Syrian Opposition Official Salim Idris announced at a press conference in Sanliurfa, Turkey that, “These are Syrian lands, and it is our duty to give people back their rights and this section of dear Syrian land.” Idris then stressed “Our Turkish brothers support us in this battle,” before pledging that “we stand in full force in support of our Turkish brothers in fighting all forms of terrorism represented by the PKK and the PYD gangs.”